What Is The Law Of The Gospel Lds?
- Marvin Harvey
On this occasion I speak with a profound desire that what I say will in some way help us to gain peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come. All men are brothers in the spirit. The Tower of Babel had no effect on the language of the Spirit.
Therefore, if I speak by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, the weakness of my spoken word will be transcended, and we will understand together. I’m not a scientist, but this I have learned since those first totterings and falls as a babe that the law of gravity exists. I have never seen gravity, only its effects.
Even so, it is obvious to me that it is in all things, that it is above all things, below all things, round about all things, and that all physical things are held in their positions and controlled in their spheres by this law. The law of gravity has its limits and conditions.
- All of the inventions and movements of man take into account these conditions.
- If a man falls from a high place, he must descend; it matters not his motives.
- He may have jumped or it might have been an accident; it matters not.
- For the law of gravity cannot be frustrated, and so he must fall and suffer the destructive consequences.
Men who jump from airplanes have discovered a saving device. It is called the parachute. With proper study and application of this device, man, falling through space, can be saved. If a man jumps from an airplane without a parachute, he must fall to his destruction.
It matters not that he knows the saving power of the parachute. If he does not have one on and open it as he falls, he will not be saved, for the law of gravity cannot be defied. By this we can clearly see that not only is the knowledge of a saving law necessary for salvation but also the application of it in our lives.
Consider what would happen if the law of gravity were suspended from over the face of the earth for twenty seconds. An awesome thought isn’t it, considering that it would cause the total disorganization of all things that exist hereon? No, I am not a scientist, but I know, like you, that gravity is in all things, above all things, and that it surrounds all things.
- I have never seen it, but I have seen and felt its effects.
- There is another law of which I will speak.
- It is a greater and more encompassing law than gravity.
- In fact, the law of gravity is only one among a totality of laws encompassed within it.
- It is the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- I have never seen this law, but, like gravity, I have seen its effects and felt its powerful influence in my life.
This is the law of the Son of God, even Jesus Christ, “The light and the Redeemer of the World; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men. “The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.” ( D&C 93:9–10 ; italics added.) He would have us know that “that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same.” ( D&C 88:34,) But he adds this stem caution, that “that which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment.
Therefore, they must remain filthy still.” ( D&C 88:35,) “He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.” ( D&C 88:41,) Suppose the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ was suspended from over the face of the earth for twenty seconds.
An awesome thought isn’t it, considering that all other laws—even the law of gravity—are encompassed within this all-inclusive law and that it would cause the instantaneous disorganization of all that exists hereon. But the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ will not be suspended from over the face of the earth, because “the works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.” ( D&C 3:1,) And so that which is governed by law will continue to be preserved by law, and that which will not obey the conditions of law will not be justified in salvation.
Jesus Christ “hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons.” ( D&C 88:42,) And, “Unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.” ( D&C 88:38,) “All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified.” ( D&C 88:39,) The law of the gospel of Jesus Christ has decreed that every man must repent and be baptized by immersion, after the pattern of the Lawgiver, or he cannot be saved.
Is a man, therefore, justified if he holds himself outside the conditions of this law? Parents are required by the law of the gospel to teach their children to understand the doctrine of repentance; to have faith in Christ, the Son of the living God; and pray and walk uprightly before the Lord; and to go into the waters of baptism at the age of accountability.
Wherein, then, is the justification for the parents who abandon this sacred law and, as though it were the accepted thing to do, abdicate their would-be thrones, whereon, had they been faithful and obedient, they might have reigned as gods, with their own children as the princes and princesses of their kingdom? As a binding clause to the law, the Lord has commanded, “Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews.” ( D&C 133:8,) Will it, therefore, be justified for any who are these designated elders to put self before the law and shirk the clarion call from the prophet, who is the mouthpiece of God, who would send them out empowered to teach a falling world the saving laws of the gospel of Jesus Christ? And what of those called to prepare them for their hour of departure if they are not faithful in their charge? Saddest of all, perhaps, are those who will not study the law of the gospel contained in the holy scriptures.
They are like the optimist who, having fallen from a high building, said as he passed each window, “So far everything’s all right” or like the man sliding down the roof saying “Help, Lord, I’m falling! Help, Lord, I’m falling! never mind, Lord, I’m caught, caught on a nail.” We could talk about the law of sacrifice and service to one another, moral cleanliness, tithes and offerings, honesty.
Indeed, we could review all the many laws that together comprise the law of the gospel. But perhaps enough has been pointed out to draw focus on their exactness, the protection and salvation they provide us if we obey, and the serious consequences for noncompliance. Now, my beloved brothers and sisters, does the law of gravity exist? Does it have effect in your life? If you jump from a high place, will your body not fall? Can you defy gravity? Can you step outside of its control? Does the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ exist? Does it have effect in your life? If you disobey its limits and conditions, will your spirit not fall? Can you defy the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Can you step outside its control? Oh that man could really see The glories of eternity, And marvel at the things he saw Encompassed by eternal law.
That he could somehow comprehend God’s work from its beginning to its end. That he is in and over all And those who heed him not must fall. For his designs and law profound Is truth and one eternal round, And although men may set at naught The holy laws which he has taught, And step outside their sacred bounds To follow after Satan’s sounds; They must retrace the path they trod Or n’er again return to God.
The great overriding theme contained in the Book of Mormon, which holds the law of the gospel, is summarized by the ancient prophet Moroni, who delivered it to us in this dispensation. It is: “come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing. “That thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee may be fulfilled.
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.” ( Moro.10:30–33,) May God bless you in your thoughts and actions, that they may ever be in tune with this holy law, I pray in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things, even Jesus Christ.
What is the new law or the law of the gospel?
Catechism of the Catholic Church – PART 3 SECTION 1 CHAPTER 3 ARTICLE 1 CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SECOND EDITION PART THREE LIFE IN CHRIST
- SECTION ONEMAN’S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
- CHAPTER THREEGOD’S SALVATION: LAW AND GRACE
- ARTICLE 1THE MORAL LAW
The moral law is the work of divine Wisdom. Its biblical meaning can be defined as fatherly instruction, God’s pedagogy. It prescribes for man the ways, the rules of conduct that lead to the promised beatitude; it proscribes the ways of evil which turn him away from God and his love.
It is at once firm in its precepts and, in its promises, worthy of love. Law is a rule of conduct enacted by competent authority for the sake of the common good. The moral law presupposes the rational order, established among creatures for their good and to serve their final end, by the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator.
All law finds its first and ultimate truth in the eternal law. Law is declared and established by reason as a participation in the providence of the living God, Creator and Redeemer of all. “Such an ordinance of reason is what one calls law.” 2 Alone among all animate beings, man can boast of having been counted worthy to receive a law from God: as an animal endowed with reason, capable of understanding and discernment, he is to govern his conduct by using his freedom and reason, in obedience to the One who has entrusted everything to him.3 1952 There are different expressions of the moral law, all of them interrelated: eternal law – the source, in God, of all law; natural law; revealed law, comprising the Old Law and the New Law, or Law of the Gospel; finally, civil and ecclesiastical laws.
- I. THE NATURAL MORAL LAW
- Man participates in the wisdom and goodness of the Creator who gives him mastery over his acts and the ability to govern himself with a view to the true and the good. The natural law expresses the original moral sense which enables man to discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the lie:
The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin, But this command of human reason would not have the force of law if it were not the voice and interpreter of a higher reason to which our spirit and our freedom must be submitted.5 The “divine and natural” law 6 shows man the way to follow so as to practice the good and attain his end.
The natural law states the first and essential precepts which govern the moral life. It hinges upon the desire for God and submission to him, who is the source and judge of all that is good, as well as upon the sense that the other is one’s equal. Its principal precepts are expressed in the Decalogue.
This law is called “natural,” not in reference to the nature of irrational beings, but because reason which decrees it properly belongs to human nature: Where then are these rules written, if not in the book of that light we call the truth? In it is written every just law; from it the law passes into the heart of the man who does justice, not that it migrates into it, but that it places its imprint on it, like a seal on a ring that passes onto wax, without leaving the ring.7 The natural law is nothing other than the light of understanding placed in us by God; through it we know what we must do and what we must avoid.
- The natural law, present in the heart of each man and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties:
For there is a true law: right reason. It is in conformity with nature, is diffused among all men, and is immutable and eternal; its orders summon to duty; its prohibitions turn away from offense, To replace it with a contrary law is a sacrilege; failure to apply even one of its provisions is forbidden; no one can abrogate it entirely.9 1957 Application of the natural law varies greatly; it can demand reflection that takes account of various conditions of life according to places, times, and circumstances.
Nevertheless, in the diversity of cultures, the natural law remains as a rule that binds men among themselves and imposes on them, beyond the inevitable differences, common principles. The natural law is immutable and permanent throughout the variations of history; 10 it subsists under the flux of ideas and customs and supports their progress.
The rules that express it remain substantially valid. Even when it is rejected in its very principles, it cannot be destroyed or removed from the heart of man. It always rises again in the life of individuals and societies: Theft is surely punished by your law, O Lord, and by the law that is written in the human heart, the law that iniquity itself does not efface.11 The natural law, the Creator’s very good work, provides the solid foundation on which man can build the structure of moral rules to guide his choices.
It also provides the indispensable moral foundation for building the human community. Finally, it provides the necessary basis for the civil law with which it is connected, whether by a reflection that draws conclusions from its principles, or by additions of a positive and juridical nature. The precepts of natural law are not perceived by everyone clearly and immediately.
In the present situation sinful man needs grace and revelation so moral and religious truths may be known “by everyone with facility, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error.” 12 The natural law provides revealed law and grace with a foundation prepared by God and in accordance with the work of the Spirit.
II. THE OLD LAW God, our Creator and Redeemer, chose Israel for himself to be his people and revealed his Law to them, thus preparing for the coming of Christ. The Law of Moses expresses many truths naturally accessible to reason. These are stated and authenticated within the covenant of salvation. The Old Law is the first stage of revealed Law.
Its moral prescriptions are summed up in the Ten Commandments. The precepts of the Decalogue lay the foundations for the vocation of man fashioned in the image of God; they prohibit what is contrary to the love of God and neighbor and prescribe what is essential to it.
The Decalogue is a light offered to the conscience of every man to make God’s call and ways known to him and to protect him against evil: God wrote on the tables of the Law what men did not read in their hearts.13 According to Christian tradition, the Law is holy, spiritual, and good, 14 yet still imperfect.
Like a tutor 15 it shows what must be done, but does not of itself give the strength, the grace of the Spirit, to fulfill it. Because of sin, which it cannot remove, it remains a law of bondage. According to St. Paul, its special function is to denounce and disclose sin, which constitutes a “law of concupiscence” in the human heart.16 However, the Law remains the first stage on the way to the kingdom.
- It prepares and disposes the chosen people and each Christian for conversion and faith in the Savior God.
- It provides a teaching which endures for ever, like the Word of God.
- The Old Law is a preparation for the Gospel,
- The Law is a pedagogy and a prophecy of things to come.” 17 It prophesies and presages the work of liberation from sin which will be fulfilled in Christ: it provides the New Testament with images, “types,” and symbols for expressing the life according to the Spirit.
Finally, the Law is completed by the teaching of the sapiential books and the prophets which set its course toward the New Covenant and the Kingdom of heaven. There were, under the regimen of the Old Covenant, people who possessed the charity and grace of the Holy Spirit and longed above all for the spiritual and eternal promises by which they were associated with the New Law.
- Conversely, there exist carnal men under the New Covenant still distanced from the perfection of the New Law: the fear of punishment and certain temporal promises have been necessary, even under the New Covenant, to incite them to virtuous works.
- In any case, even though the Old Law prescribed charity, it did not give the Holy Spirit, through whom “God’s charity has been poured into our hearts.” 18 III.
THE NEW LAW OR THE LAW OF THE GOSPEL The New Law or the Law of the Gospel is the perfection here on earth of the divine law, natural and revealed. It is the work of Christ and is expressed particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit and through him it becomes the interior law of charity: “I will establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel.
I will put my laws into their hands, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 19 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit given to the faithful through faith in Christ. It works through charity; it uses the Sermon on the Mount to teach us what must be done and makes use of the sacraments to give us the grace to do it: If anyone should meditate with devotion and perspicacity on the sermon our Lord gave on the mount, as we read in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, he will doubtless find there,
the perfect way of the Christian life. This sermon contains, all the precepts needed to shape one’s life.20 The Law of the Gospel “fulfills,” refines, surpasses, and leads the Old Law to its perfection.21 In the Beatitudes, the New Law fulfills the divine promises by elevating and orienting them toward the “kingdom of heaven.” It is addressed to those open to accepting this new hope with faith – the poor, the humble, the afflicted, the pure of heart, those persecuted on account of Christ and so marks out the surprising ways of the Kingdom.
The Law of the Gospel fulfills the commandments of the Law. The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, far from abolishing or devaluing the moral prescriptions of the Old Law, releases their hidden potential and has new demands arise from them: it reveals their entire divine and human truth. It does not add new external precepts, but proceeds to reform the heart, the root of human acts, where man chooses between the pure and the impure, 22 where faith, hope, and charity are formed and with them the other virtues.
The Gospel thus brings the Law to its fullness through imitation of the perfection of the heavenly Father, through forgiveness of enemies and prayer for persecutors, in emulation of the divine generosity.23 The New Law practices the acts of religion : almsgiving, prayer and fasting, directing them to the “Father who sees in secret,” in contrast with the desire to “be seen by men.” 24 Its prayer is the Our Father.25 The Law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between “the two ways” and to put into practice the words of the Lord.26 It is summed up in the Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and the prophets.” 27 The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the “new commandment” of Jesus, to love one another as he has loved us.28 To the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount it is fitting to add the moral catechesis of the apostolic teachings, such as Romans 12-15, 1 Corinthians 12-13, Colossians 3-4, Ephesians 4-5, etc.
- This doctrine hands on the Lord’s teaching with the authority of the apostles, particularly in the presentation of the virtues that flow from faith in Christ and are animated by charity, the principal gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Let charity be genuine.
- Love one another with brotherly affection.
- Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.” 29 This catechesis also teaches us to deal with cases of conscience in the light of our relationship to Christ and to the Church.30 The New Law is called a law of love because it makes us act out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than from fear; a law of grace, because it confers the strength of grace to act, by means of faith and the sacraments; a law of freedom, because it sets us free from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law, inclines us to act spontaneously by the prompting of charity and, finally, lets us pass from the condition of a servant who “does not know what his master is doing” to that of a friend of Christ – “For all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” – or even to the status of son and heir.31 Besides its precepts, the New Law also includes the evangelical counsels,
The traditional distinction between God’s commandments and the evangelical counsels is drawn in relation to charity, the perfection of Christian life. The precepts are intended to remove whatever is incompatible with charity. The aim of the counsels is to remove whatever might hinder the development of charity, even if it is not contrary to it.32 The evangelical counsels manifest the living fullness of charity, which is never satisfied with not giving more.
They attest its vitality and call forth our spiritual readiness. The perfection of the New Law consists essentially in the precepts of love of God and neighbor. The counsels point out the more direct ways, the readier means, and are to be practiced in keeping with the vocation of each: does not want each person to keep all the counsels, but only those appropriate to the diversity of persons, times, opportunities, and strengths, as charity requires; for it is charity, as queen of all virtues, all commandments, all counsels, and, in short, of all laws and all Christian actions that gives to all of them their rank, order, time, and value.33
- IN BRIEF
- 1975 According to Scripture the Law is a fatherly instruction by God which prescribes for man the ways that lead to the promised beatitude, and proscribes the ways of evil.
1976 “Law is an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by the one who is in charge of the community” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 90, 4).1977 Christ is the end of the law (cf. Rom 10:4); only he teaches and bestows the justice of God.1978 The natural law is a participation in God’s wisdom and goodness by man formed in the image of his Creator.
- It expresses the dignity of the human person and forms the basis of his fundamental rights and duties.1979 The natural law is immutable, permanent throughout history.
- The rules that express it remain substantially valid.
- It is a necessary foundation for the erection of moral rules and civil law.1980 The Old Law is the first stage of revealed law.
Its moral prescriptions are summed up in the Ten Commandments.1981 The Law of Moses contains many truths naturally accessible to reason. God has revealed them because men did not read them in their hearts.1982 The Old Law is a preparation for the Gospel.1983 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit received by faith in Christ, operating through charity.
It finds expression above all in the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount and uses the sacraments to communicate grace to us.1984 The Law of the Gospel fulfills and surpasses the Old Law and brings it to perfection: its promises, through the Beatitudes of the Kingdom of heaven; its commandments, by reforming the heart, the root of human acts.1985 The New Law is a law of love, a law of grace, a law of freedom.1986 Besides its precepts the New Law includes the evangelical counsels.
“The Church’s holiness is fostered in a special way by the manifold counsels which the Lord proposes to his disciples in the Gospel” ( LG 42 § 2).2 Leo XIII, Libertas præstantissimum : AAS 20 (1887/88),597; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II,90,1.3 Cf. Tertullian, Adv.
- Marc, 2,4:PL 2,288-289.4 Rom 10:4.5 Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum, 597.6 GS 89 § 1.7 St.
- Augustine, De Trin.14,15,21:PL 42,1052.8 St.
- Thomas Aquinas, Dec.
- Præc.I.9 Cicero, Rep,
- III,22,33.10 Cf.
- GS 10.11 St.
- Augustine, Conf,2,4,9:PL 32,678.12 Pius XII, Humani generis : DS 3876; cf.
- Dei Filius 2: DS 3005.13 St.
Augustine, En. in Ps.57,1:PL 36,673.14 Cf. Rom 7:12,14,16.15 Cf. Gal 3:24.16 Cf. Rom 7.17 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres.4,15,1:PG 7/1,1012.18 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II,107,1 ad 2; cf. Rom 5:5.19 Heb 8:8, 10; cf. Jer 31:31-34.20 St. Augustine, De serm. Dom.1,1:PL 34,1229-1230.21 Cf.
Mt 5:17-19.22 Cf. Mt 15:18-19.23 Cf. Mt 5:44,48.24 Cf. Mt 6:1-6; 16-18.25 Cf. Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4.26 Cf. Mt 7:13-14,21-27.27 Mt 7:12; cf. Lk 6:31.28 Cf. Jn 15:12; 13:34.29 Rom 12:9-13.30 Cf. Rom 14; 1 Cor 5-10.31 Jn 15:15; cf. Jas 1:25; 2:12; Gal 4:1-7,21-31; Rom 8:15.32 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II,184,3.33 St.
Francis de Sales, Love of God 8,6. Copyright permission for posting of the English translation of the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH on the Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church web site was granted by Amministrazione Del Patrimonio Della Sede Apostolica, case number 130389.
What is the law of the Lord?
The word law in a gospel sense refers to the statutes, judgments, and principles of salvation revealed by the Lord to man. Christ is the law (see 3 Nephi 15:9)—He gave it and embodies its principles. In this sense, the law of the Lord is a revelation of His character and attributes.
What is the difference between old law and new law?
For the Old Law is, as it were, a teacher of children, as the Apostle says in Galatians 3:24, whereas the New Law is a law of perfection, since it is a law of charity. On this score, the Apostle says in Colossians 3:14 that the New Law is a ‘bond of perfection.’
What does the Bible mean when it says the law?
THE REASON FOR LAWS – The whole creation is established on set rules for its function. Governments and social structures are based upon agreed-upon rules for their functioning as are all organisations and groups. Sometimes those rules are informal as an agreed upon code of ethics between its members, but just the same, any organised activity has to have rules of conduct for the participants and share common goals.
Without that there is anarchy. Rules set the standard for any activity as the guidelines upon which it is to function and define that activity. Those who desire to engage in the activity have to accept the rules. so, the rules are not really the focus. We engage in activities because we enjoy and find fulfillment in those activities and the achievement of the set purpose of the activity.
So it’s more about what our goal is, than about what the rules are and it comes down to the focus of our interest and how important it is to us to be involved in the activity or achieve the set goal. A participant who hasn’t got a clear focus or enthusiasm for the goal, may object to the rules of engagement.
Yahweh runs everything by rules too. Yahweh’s Law, as recorded in the Bible, identifies the moral standards He wants humanity to live by. If Yahweh’s law didn’t exist no one would know right from wrong. Because He is the ultimate Ruler, He has the right to set the standards and make the rules of engagement.
There are ‘rules’ or principles involved in having a relationship with Yahweh God through Yeshua, His Son. He sets before us the goal of knowing Him and having eternal life with Him in the kingdom of God (John 17:3). The rules are a means to achieve the end purpose and not an end in themselves.
- We are not following a set of rules but a Person with whom we desire to have a relationship; which relationship just happens to be governed and defined by a set of rules to achieve that purpose.
- To anyone not interested in a closer relationship with God, then His rules are a restrictive burden to follow, which will appear legalistic.
Whereas, someone who is passionate about knowing Him in a deeper way, will eagerly embrace the ‘rules’ as that means to the end.
Did Jesus refer to the law and the prophets?
In the first 11 verses of the Sermon on The Mount, Jesus describes the citizens of God’s kingdom (Matthew 5:3-16). In Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus explains His connection to and fulfilment of the Law of Moses and the Prophets.
What was God’s first promise of the gospel?
How do you feel when you have sinned? Do you feel shame? If so, there is hope for you. Sin should make us ashamed of ourselves. God has made us with an inner conscience that accuses when we do wrong and approves when we do right. There was a Native American Christian who compared conscience to an arrowhead in his heart.
When I do wrong, it turns and hurts me until I make it right. But if I keep on doing wrong, the arrowhead keeps turning and wears down the points, so it doesn’t hurt me anymore. The Bible refers to that as a seared conscience, it is deadened and no longer functions properly. America, for the most part, is living with a seared conscience.
The sins that used to slink down the back alley now strut down the main drag. And no one is bothered by them anymore. America’s conscience is seared. But not everyone’s conscience is seared. Thank God for that sense of shame when sin is committed. Adam and Eve felt a great sense of shame after they so wickedly sinned against God.
But God gave them a promise that has been fulfilled for the most part today. It will be fulfilled completely in a future day. This promise is found in Genesis 3:15. There God said, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This is called the protevangelium or “the first gospel.” Here we have the first announcement of the coming Savior and Redeemer of mankind.
This is a glorious verse. To the Old Testament saints it was a beacon of hope. To the old serpent, Satan, it was a declaration of war and pronouncement of Satan’s sure destruction. To Eve it was assurance that indeed she was forgiven and that God would from woman bring the Redeemer into the world.
- It contains the whole gospel, and the essence of the covenant of grace.
- It promises a birth.
- We have just celebrated that glorious birth.
- It promises a bruising.
- The seed of the woman, even our Lord Jesus, was bruised in His heel, terribly.
- But how terrible will be the final bruising of the serpent’s head! This was virtually done when Jesus took away sin by His death, conquered death, and broke the power of Satan by His resurrection.
It also promises a blessing. For it awaits a still fuller fulfillment at our Lord’s Second coming, and in the day of Judgment. Charles Spurgeon, that great preacher of yesteryear reminds us that the promise stands as a prophecy that we shall be afflicted by the powers of evil in our journey in this old world, and thus bruised in our heel: but we shall triumph in Christ, who sets His foot upon the serpent’s head.
- Throughout this year we may have to learn the first part of this promise by experience, through the temptations of the devil, and the unkindness of the ungodly who are his seed.
- They may so bruise us that we may limp with our sore heel; but let us take firm hold upon the second part of the verse, and we shall not be dismayed.
By faith let us rejoice that we shall still reign in Christ Jesus, the seed of the woman. God loves you and so does First Baptist Church.
What is the first important law?
An act to regulate the time and manner of administering certain oaths First law passed after ratification of the U.S. Constitution by the U.S. Congress An Act to regulate the Time and Manner of administering certain Oaths Enacted bythe CitationsPublic law (Session 1; 1 Stat.23) (1789)1 (Chapter 1) (1789)Legislative history
- Passed the on April 27, 1789
- Passed the on May 5, 1789
- Signed into law by President on June 1, 1789
An Act to regulate the Time and Manner of administering certain Oaths was the first law passed by the after the ratification of the, It was signed by President on June 1, 1789, and parts of it remain in effect to this day. The reached its first on April 1, 1789.
Five days later, it appointed a committee to draft a bill on the manner of administration of the oath for members of Congress required under Article VI of the Constitution. The House also voted that day to instruct the committee to include the following wording for the oath: “I, A B a Representative of the United States in the Congress thereof, do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.” On April 25, the committee reported its bill to the whole House, which approved it two days later.
The committee charged with the bill added a section requiring state officials and legislators to take the same oath as members of Congress. The Senate approved the bill with the change on May 5. The House did not object to the Senate’s change, and representatives of each body took the bill to Washington for his signature.
- The oath in the final bill differed from the original proposal by excluding the two clauses mentioning God, as well as the phrase “a Representative of the United States in Congress thereof.” The act stipulated that any senator was to administer the oath to the (that is, the ).
- The Vice President then administers the oath to the Senators.
In the House, a Representative administers the oath to the, who then does the same to the other members. State and other federal officials were to take the same oath, administered by someone to be authorized by a later law. Parts of the statute remain in Title 2, Sections,, and, and Title 4, and, of the,
What are the laws of the LDS Church?
See also Bless, Blessed, Blessing ; Commandments of God ; Law of Moses ; Obedience, Obedient, Obey
The commandments or rules of God upon which all blessings and punishments are based both in heaven and on earth. Those who obey the laws of God receive the promised blessings. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that people should also obey, honor, and sustain the laws of the land ( A of F 1:12 ).
God gave commandments to Adam, Gen.1:28 ; 2:16–17, God gave laws to Noah, Gen.9:1, The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul, Ps.19:7, The Lord is our lawgiver, Isa.33:22,
There is one lawgiver, James 4:12,
Where there is no law, there is no punishment, 2 Ne.9:25, There is a law given, Alma 42:17–22, Men will be judged according to law, Alma 42:23, Christ is the law, 3 Ne.15:9,
All laws are spiritual, D&C 29:34, Joseph Smith received the law of the Church by revelation, D&C 42, He who keeps God’s law has no need to break the laws of the land, D&C 58:21, The light of Christ is the law by which all things are governed, D&C 88:7–13, He hath given a law to all things, D&C 88:42–43, People should observe the law of the land, D&C 98:4–5, When we obtain a blessing from God, it is by obedience to law, D&C 130:20–21, The Church declared its beliefs concerning civil laws, D&C 134,
Mankind is saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, A of F 1:3,
What are the gospel commandments?
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? None is good save one, even God. Thou knowest the commandments: Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor thy father and mother. We expect Jesus to recite the entire Decalogue.
What is the difference between a law and a commandment LDS?
Roger R. Keller, “Laws and Commandments” in Book of Mormon Authors: Their Words and Messages (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1996), 21–39. In chapter 1, a methodology using word clusters was developed which suggested that unique word usage could be identified among the various Book of Mormon authors.
- This chapter and those that follow are designed to test that suggestion.
- When Latter-day Saints think of the Lord’s commandments, they frequently think of paying tithing, living the law of chastity, attending meetings, performing temple ordinances, following the Brethren, and magnifying callings.
- This would hardly be an exhaustive list of “commandments,” however, and the list varies from person to person, depending on circumstances.
Why do we have commandments anyway? What is the Lord’s purpose in giving them to us? This chapter will attempt to answer these questions by examining the authors within the Book of Mormon and their use of the words related to Law/ Command. This chapter will extend the research explained in chapter 1.
- Here a comparative methodology has been applied to a very specific and narrow set of words.
- While the previous chapter dealt with large groups of words centered around specific themes, here we deal with a small group of eleven words related to Law/ Command.
- They are Command, Commanded, Commandest, Commandeth, Commanding, Commandment, Commandments, Commands, Law, Law of Moses, and Laws,
While the previous chapter simply identified significant groups of words by author and noted the differences between authors, this chapter and the following ones will not only determine the differences in word use but will also show, through contextual analysis, the often different meanings attached to the words by the various authors.
- Only those authors who use enough words from the Law/ Command word group for reasonable comparison will be addressed in this study.
- Two things will be seen as a result of this study: (1) there are significant differences in the ways the words are used by the various authors; and (2) according to Jesus, all laws and commandments given by God lead to only one commandment—”Come unto Christ.” Significant Use of the Law/ Command Word Group Figure 1 shows how the use of this word group is distributed across the various authors.
Listed are simply the number of occurrences of the various words. Their use ratios will be noted in the text or in footnotes. Even a cursory glance at figure 1 makes it clear that there are variations between the authors in their choice of words. Command, Commanded, Commandment, and Commandments are most generally used, but there are clear differences in who chooses to use what.
Similarly, many of the authors speak of Law, but not all refer explicitly to the Law of Moses. Finally, a number of the authors use the phrase Come Unto, and we will explore what each means by the special use of that phrase. We will divide the following material into three categories which deal with various meanings and contexts for these words, i.e., ethical and secular, theological, and editorial.
Finally, we will turn to Jesus’ theological key which unlocks the ultimate meaning of this complex of words. A Predominantly Secular or Ethical Meaning The Law/ Command complex is often used in relation to secular laws and rules for governing the state.
- It may also be used to delineate how a person should behave in everyday life.
- Even though these commands or laws may come from God, they deal predominantly with person-to-person relationships, as opposed to theological uses which are essentially concerned with the relationship between God and human beings.
The following material will examine those authors whose word usage is predominantly concerned with these person-to person relationships. Alma 2. For Alma 2, the Law/ Command word group is comparatively important, with a use ratio of 3.03 per thousand words.
Commandments has a use ratio of 1.44, while Command and Law are the other words primarily used. The word Law focuses most clearly on the secular/ ethical aspects of life, since it refers either to the secular law of Mosiah (Alma 1:14; 30:34) or to the Law of Moses (Alma 42:17–24) with its ethical content.
The words related to Command, however, straddle the line between secular/ ethical and theological meanings. As can be seen, Commandments seems to have a strong ethical content, although it is often cast in a context which stresses the goodness and graciousness of God.
For example, the first time Alma 2 uses the word is in Alma 5:18, which states the following: “Can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?” This occurrence immediately follows Alma 2’s question to the people of Zarahemla asking whether they have been spiritually born of God.
He then asks them about their faith in God and if they are prepared to be judged against the deeds they have done while in their mortal bodies—i.e., judged against their ethical behavior. Would they be invited to come to God because of their righteousness, or would they be filled with remorse and guilt because they violated God’s commandments (Alma 5:14–18)? For Alma 2, a person’s spiritual relationship with God (Alma 5:14) was clearly a precursor to all that followed ethically, yet ethics—living by God’s commandments—did matter (Alma 5:16, 18).
- Other texts show a similar spiritual/ ethical relationship.
- However, no mere ethical norm was meaningful unless it was fulfilled in relationship to Christ’s atoning work.
- Thus the Father states, “Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest” (Alma 12:34).
The word which reinforces the above relationship between spirituality and ethics is Command. On the one hand, Command has the rather mundane meaning of ordering or directing someone to keep the records (Alma 37:1–2) or not to impart certain knowledge (Alma 12:9, 14; 37:1–2,16,20,27; 39:10,12).
- On the other hand, Command appears in Alma 5:60–62 as the culmination of a magnificent chapter on the work of Christ.
- Clearly the ethical element is present, but of even greater importance is the emphasis on coming to Christ, repenting, and being baptized. Amulek,
- Amulek makes almost no use of the Law/ Command word group with the exception of the word Law, which has a use ratio of 2.52.
Interestingly, the word carries a variety of meanings. It may mean the law of Ammonihah (Alma 10:26), Mosiah’s law (Alma 34:11–12), or the Law of Moses, which points to Christ (Alma 34:13–14, 16). Benjamin. The Law/ Command word group is of major significance in Benjamin with a use ratio of 5.92.
- The two dominant words used by king Benjamin are Commandments and Commanded.
- Law and Laws are each used only once.
- Commandments carries a strong ethical context (Mosiah 1:3–4; 2:13, 21–22), but there is the added dimension of being commanded to know the history of God’s dealings with his people, thereby placing ethics within God’s promises of redemption (Mosiah 1:5–7,11; 2:41; 4:6, 30).
Even the king’s commandments are the commandments of God (Mosiah 2:31). Benjamin’s use of Commanded sharpens the picture, for he makes it clear that service to one’s fellow human beings is the essence of God’s commands (Mosiah 2:13,17,23,27). In addition, Benjamin is commanded to reveal the mysteries of God to his people (Mosiah 2 2–10), the essence of which seems to be “that ye are eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are” (Mosiah 2:34).
- Such knowledge came from the records, the holy prophets, and the fathers (Mosiah 2:34–35). Mosiah.
- Proportionately, the Law/ Command word group is of immense importance to Mosiah, with a use ratio of 14.41.
- In stating this, however, it must be recognized that we have only 1,108 words from Mosiah, certainly not a full representation of his thought.
The words he uses from the word group are Command, Commandments, Law, and Laws. In virtually every instance where Law or Laws is used, the reference is to secular issues (Mosiah 29:11, 15, 22–23, 25–27). Commandments seems to be Mosiah’s word for the commandments of God which are the basis of secular law (Mosiah 29:11, 13–14,22).
Nephi 1. Nephi l’s use of the Law/ Command word group produces a use ratio of 2.92. Most of the time his concerns are with commands from the Lord which relate to events of his life, such as leaving Jerusalem (1 Nephi 2:3–4), returning to Jerusalem (1 Nephi 2:14; 3:7, 15, 18; 7:1–2), building the ship (1 Nephi 17:49), Laman and Lemuel not touching him(l Nephi 17:48), and making plates (1 Nephi 9:2; 19:1).
Almost universally in Nephi l’s writings, the word Commandments means instructions, a meaning that is unique to Nephi 1. Of the twenty-eight occurrences of the word, twenty bear the meaning of instructions, while of the remaining eight occurrences, three others may mean this in part (1 Nephi 22:30–31; 2 Nephi 31:7).
The word Law always means the Law of Moses (e.g., 1 Nephi 4:15; 2 Nephi 25:25–30), and where Law of Moses is used explicitly, Nephi 1 tells us that it points toward Christ (2 Nephi 11:4) or is to be kept until Christ comes (2 Nephi 25:24). Summary. Among those authors who use the Law/ Command word group in a predominantly ethical or secular vein or both, there are clear differences in the ways the words are utilized.
For example, Alma 2 and Amulek, missionary companions, do not use the same vocabulary. Amulek uses the word Law to mean a variety of things. Alma 2 uses Law predominantly to designate the Law of Moses. Benjamin stresses service and that the king’s commands are God’s commands, while his son Mosiah stresses secular law.
- By contrast, Nephi 1 speaks of God’s commands to him as addressing a variety of life’s problems.
- He uses the word Commandments uniquely to mean instructions.
- From these examples, one observes precisely what one would expect to see among different authors whose works had been edited and recorded in a single volume—diversity in language and diversity in the meanings attached to a single word.
Figure 2 is a summary table of the above results.
|Alma 2 (3.03)|
|Commandments||Ethical and lead to righteousness|
|Living by God’s directions|
|Fulfilled in relation to Christ|
|Law||Secular or Law of Moses|
|Commandments||Ethics or know the history of God|
|Commandments||God’s commands the basis of secular law|
|Nephi 1 (2.92)|
|Commandments||Instructions on daily issues|
|Law||Law of Moses|
A Predominantly Theological Meaning In this section, the Law/ Command word group will be examined within an overtly theological context. Here the words are less concerned with person-to-person relationships but are instead predominantly concerned with the divine/ human encounter.
Abinadi. For Abinadi, the Law/ Command word group is quite important, with a use ratio of 10.39. As with Mosiah, the length of text is small (2,792 words), thus limiting our ability to decide how important these words might have been within a broader range of Abinadi’s thought. However, given the fact that Abinadi’s sermon contains his final words before death, we can surmise that we are reading what he believed to be of greatest importance.
When Abinadi uses Commanded, it is almost always in the context of God commanding persons, through Abinadi’s preaching, to repent (Mosiah 11:20–21,25; 12:1; 13:3; 16:12) and, in the broader context, to come to Christ and his atonement. The people’s repentance must focus on their violation of the Ten Commandments, which clearly state God’s will for them (Mosiah 12:33; 13:4, 11,25; 15:22, 26).
The priests of Noah claim that salvation comes through the Law of Moses, but Abinadi gives an interesting twist to that argument. He says he knows that if they keep the commandments of God, they will be saved. He then quotes the beginning of the Ten Commandments: “I am the Lord thy God, who hath brought thee out of the land of Egypt.
Thou shalt have no other God before me” (Mosiah 12:34–36). Abinadi’s basic charge is that the priests of Noah have not kept God foremost in their lives, thereby giving rise to all their other sins (Mosiah 12:37). Thus, the Law of God is central, but specifically the law which places the person of God and one’s relationship with him above all other things.
- When the Law of Moses is rightly understood, it is a type of him who is to come (Mosiah 13:31–32; 16:14).
- Until such time, the ordinances are given to keep the remembrance of God constantly before the people (Mosiah 13:29–30). Jacob.
- Jacob uses most of the Law/ Command words, but he does not seem to have a favorite.
Thus, while the word group is important in his writing, with a use ratio of 3.05, there is a variety of meanings attached to the words. The natural world may be commanded (Jacob 4:6, 9), God (or Nephi 1) commands that precious things be written down (Jacob 1 :l–2, 8; 7:27), and the Lord commands that persons be baptized in the name of the Holy One of Israel (2 Nephi 9:23).
- Monogamy is commanded (Jacob 3:5–6), and the Nephites are no longer to revile the Lamanites, but rather to contemplate their own sins (Jacob 3:8).
- Further, the commandments come from God (2 Nephi 9:27; Jacob 2:10,16; 4:5), and to keep them is to glorify the Lord (Jacob 2:21).
- Jacob’s use of the word Law appears, in part, to mean the Law of Moses.
But it goes beyond this to a sense that is equivalent to the plan of salvation, for it seems to encompass the work of Christ and God’s overall purposes (2 Nephi 9:17, 24–27, 46). Finally, the Law of Moses points souls to Christ (Jacob 4:5). Hence, Jacob’s use of the word group is different from that of other authors in that there is not a dominant theme attached to the word group.
Moroni 2. The Law/ Command word group is not of great interest to Moroni 2, whose use ratio is 1.46. Moroni 2’s use of these words is almost wholly in an editorial context, and they consistently refer to commands of the Lord. Only once are any of the words used in the Book of Moroni, and there Christ’s commandments concerning the sacrament are referenced (Moroni 4:1).
All other occurrences are in Mormon 8–9 or Ether. The Lord commanded individuals to do various things, and Moroni 2’s father commanded Moroni 2 to write about the end of the Nephite people (Mormon 8:1). Moroni 2’s use of Law or Laws is less than the average of all other writers.
- Lehi. The use ratio of the Law/ Command word group is 2.70 for Lehi, and he uses these words differently than do other writers.
- Lehi speaks in the first person and then refers to the Lord’s commanding of individuals to do certain things, almost in the format of the Old Testament messenger formula.
- For example, Lehi tells Nephi that “the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 3:2).
Other occurrences have this same format (1 Nephi 3:4–5; 2 Nephi 1:27; 2:21). The most used word in the group is Law. It consistently refers to the Law of Moses, but we cannot draw too much from this since the occurrences are all in one passage (2 Nephi 2:4–26).
- Summary. Among those authors who stress the predominantly theological sense of the Law/ Command word group, there is once again a divergence in the way the various terms are used.
- Abinadi focuses on the people’s need to repent because they have violated the Ten Commandments, which, when rightly understood, point to Christ.
No single term stands out for Jacob, and thus his use is varied. Moroni 2 uses the words almost solely in his work as an editor, but in most instances it is the Lord who gives commands. Finally, Lehi’s use is slightly unique—he speaks in the first person and refers to the Lord’s commanding.
|Commanded||God commands repentance|
|Commandments||No other God—relational|
|Law||Law of Moses points to Christ|
|Commandments||No favorite meaning|
|Law||Law of Moses points to Christ|
|Moroni 2 (1.46)|
|Commanded||Lord or his father commands|
|Command||Messenger formula—Lord commands|
|Laws||Law of Moses|
Predominantly Editorial in Nature This section is reserved for Mormon, who, although he might have been placed with those whose word use was primarily secular, must be analyzed separately to see the uniqueness that he brings to his work. As is generally accepted, Mormon’s words begin with the Words of Mormon, are interspersed as he edits the books of Mosiah through 4 Nephi, appear in Mormon 1–7, and are present once again in Moroni 7–9.
- Given the immense amount of material which Mormon edits and the numerous and separate places where his personal words and thoughts appear, it is important to note that he maintains, across the spectrum of his writings, several unique meanings for words within the Law/ Command word group.
- Words from this word group appear 245 times with a moderate use ratio of 2.50.
The word group clearly has importance to Mormon. However, because of the size of Mormon’s writings (97,912 words), no single word in the group reaches a use ratio of 1.00, even when it appears seventy-eight times as does Commanded (0.80) or fifty-three times as does Commandments (0.54).
- Even so, the Law/ Command group is clearly important, and if a specific word appears throughout Mormon’s writings and bears a meaning significantly different from the surrounding material, it is worth examining.
- This is certainly the case for several of Mormon’s words.
- Command is one such word.
- In Alma 2, for example, the word appears nine times as a verb and twice as a noun meaning “an order” (Alma 5:62; 12:9).
In Jesus’ words it occurs twice as a verb (3 Nephi 15:16; 16:4), and in the Lord’s words four times as a verb (2 Nephi 3:8; 29:11; Jacob 2:30; Helaman 10:11) and twice in the phrase “at my command” (Ether 4:9). Mormon’s use is very different. Command appears seventeen times as a noun and three times as a verb (Alma 52:4; 3 Nephi 3:17; Mormon 7:4).
The dominant meaning as a noun is that of military or social “leadership,” a definition no other writer gives to the word. Commanded also displays unique characteristics when used by Mormon, being dominated by kings, prophets, or military leaders who command. Thus, Benjamin, Limhi, Ammon, Noah, Alma 1, Amulon, Alma 2, and Gidgiddoni all command their followers to do a variety of secular things.
In almost all instances the meaning is essentially nontheological. When Mormon is not editing material, however, it is the Lord who commands (Mormon 3:16; 6:6; 7:10; Moroni 8:21). The secular motif within the word group continues with the words Law and Laws.
In virtually every instance Law means secular law or, more specifically, the Law of Mosiah (e.g., Mosiah 29:39; Alma 1:17; 11:1). Only in Mormon’s sermonic material does the secular motif vanish with the meaning being either the Law of Moses or, perhaps, shorthand for the plan of salvation (Moroni 7:28; 8:22, 24).
Laws is also secular in meaning, i.e., Mosiah’s law (e.g., Alma 1:1; Helaman4:21) or tribal law (3 Nephi 7:11, 14). Mormon is not, however, without interest in things theological. This is manifest in his use of the word Commandments, signifying things which come from God and which seem to convey the idea of “the Christian life.” The term is extremely broad in scope, and no single definition such as Abinadi’s Ten Commandments, Mosiah’s judicial commandments, or Alma the Younger’s ethical commandments is sufficient.
Thus, “Christian Life” seems to be the best equivalent for Mormon’s use. Even in his sermonic material, this broad meaning still seems to be operative (Moroni 8:11, 25). Finally, when Mormon refers specifically to the Law of Moses, it bears theological meaning only in relation to Christ, for it is a type, it points to Christ (e.g., Alma 25:15–16), and it passes away at his coming (3 Nephi 1:24; 15:2).
In summary, Mormon used the terms of the Law/ Command word group in his own unique ways, despite the manner in which these same words may have been used in the surrounding material which he was editing. The major emphasis is secular, but it is theologically balanced, in part, by the terms Commandments and Law of Moses.
|Commanded||Royal secular commands||The Lord commands|
|Law||Secular (Mosiah’s)||Law of Moses|
|Laws||Mosiah’s or tribal|
|Law of Moses||Type of Christ|
Jesus’ Theological Key In this book, “Lord” refers to the Lord who speaks from the heavens. In actuality, this is Jesus, either before his mortal birth or as the resurrected Lord when he speaks from the heavens. Until now neither the words of the resurrected Jesus nor those of the Lord speaking from the heavens have been considered.
- Yet for each, the Law/ Command word group is highly significant.
- For Jesus the word-use count is 5.50, and for the Lord the count is 2.97.
- If we are ever to understand the true significance of the laws and commands that we are to obey as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it will be because we hear from the Lord himself what the laws and commands are to be and to mean in our individual lives.
The Lord. The Lord’s use of the Law/ Command word group, as he speaks to his servants, leaves little doubt that he is in charge of all things. It is at his order that his work is done (2 Nephi 3:8), that scriptures are written (2 Nephi 29:11), that seed may be raised up for him (Jacob 2:30), that messages are conveyed (1 Nephi 2:1; Helaman 10:11), and that the heavens are opened or shut (Ether 4:8–9).
The most important word is Commandments, which covers all things the Lord asks his servants to do. The unique element is that there is almost always a promise or curse attached to the word. For example, in 1 Nephi 2:20 we read, “And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise.” In contrast, however, we also read in 2 Nephi 1:20, “Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.” The word Law is used only twice meaning the Law of Moses (2 Nephi 3:17; Moroni 8:8), and the one time the Law of Moses is referred to directly, it is said to point to the Lord himself (Alma 9:17–18).
The Resurrected Jesus. As we turn to the resurrected Jesus and his use of the Law/ Command word group in 3 Nephi, with a use ratio of 5.50, we finally come to understand the reason why all the Lord’s commands and laws were and are given: they point us to Christ.
Apart from Christ and his atoning work, laws and commandments are meaningless. As we study the words Jesus uses, the first thing to note is his consciousness that even he does nothing that the Father does not direct him to do. For example, because his Father has so directed, he does not tell his disciples in the Old World about the Nephites (3 Nephi 15:13–15), yet he goes to other scattered peoples at his Father’s command (3 Nephi 16:3).
Further, he completes the work which his Father has commanded him to do, i.e., the gathering of Israel (3 Nephi 20:10). The heart of the issue, however, is to be found in 3 Nephi 12:17–20. Here Jesus makes clear both his and his Father’s will for members of the Church.
Jesus tells us what his command is for those persons who seek to do God’s will: Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfil; For verily I say unto you, one jot nor one tittle hath not passed away from the law, but in me it hath all been fulfilled.
And behold. / have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled.
Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (emphasis added). These verses appear in the midst of Jesus’ sermon at the temple in Bountiful and give focus to all else that is said in the sermon.
What Jesus is instructing the people to do is entirely possible, unless they seek to separate their lives from a relationship with him. Perfection of life—our lives—is to be found in Christ, for he fulfills perfectly the essence of the law (3 Nephi 12:18–19, 46; 15:4–5,8–10).
- The emphasized text above states the relationship between the laws and commandments of God and Jesus as our Savior.
- The text may be interpreted in at least two ways, neither of which necessarily precludes the other.
- It could mean that Jesus has given in the past, through the Law of Moses and other commands, the directions of his Father, all of which should lead persons to believe in him as the Christ, repent of their sins, and come to him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
It could also mean that Jesus was at that moment conveying the Father’s fundamental commands to his children, which are that they shall believe in Christ, repent of their sins, and come to Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. This would mean that obedience to all other commands, particularly those contained in the sermon at the temple, grows out of a person’s relationship with Christ, as well as pointing him or her toward that relationship.
- This interpretation is supported by Jesus’ next statement: “Except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (emphasis added).
- This seems to suggest that it is not past commandments with which the Lord is concerned, but rather the fundamental commandment to come to him which he wants us to hear.
From that relationship comes a “mighty change of heart” which then enables those who have become true Saints to keep the other articulated commands of God—to live the life which the children of God should live—meaning that they possess the mind of God or are Godlike.
- Jesus’ use of the other words in the Law/ Command word group supports this relational view of his commandments.
- The people are to do what Christ commands them, i.e., they are to be baptized unto his death and resurrection and are to take the sacrament which is a remembrance of their relationship to Christ, a relationship made possible by his sacrificial atonement (3 Nephi 18:10–12).
The Father commands all persons to repent and believe in Christ (3 Nephi 11:32). Whoever breaks the command to come to Christ is in danger of being led into temptation (3 Nephi 18:25), and this danger is forcefully emphasized once again in Jesus’ culminating commandment: “Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day” (3 Nephi 27:20; emphasis added).
- Finally, Christ’s last words in 3 Nephi are directed to the Gentiles: “Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways,
- And come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel” (3 Nephi 30:2; emphasis added).
The centrality of coming to Christ is never left in doubt throughout Book of Mormon history. The Lord, speaking from the heavens, constantly directed the people to turn to him. Nephi also called his people to come to the God of Abraham (1 Nephi 6:4), to God (1 Nephi 10:18; 2 Nephi 26:33), to the Redeemer, and to the fold of God (1 Nephi 15:14–15).
Similarly, Jacob summons all to come to the Lord (2 Nephi 9:41), to God (2 Nephi 9:45), to the Holy One of Israel (2 Nephi 9:51), and to Christ (Jacob 1:7). Finally, Moroni 2 bears his witness of the need to come to the Lord (Mormon 9:27), to the Father in the name of Jesus (Ether 5:5), to the fountain of righteousness (Ether 8:26), and to Christ (Moroni 10:30,32).
In addition, as seen in the earlier sections of this chapter, Alma 2, Amulek, Nephi 1, Abinadi, Jacob, and Mormon all use certain of their words from the Law/ Command group to point to Christ. Thus, in Christ alone can we find the power to live as God would have us live.
Conclusions As a result of the above discussions, two areas need to be highlighted: (1) the divergent ways in which the above authors use the words within the Law/ Command word group under consideration, and (2) the theological implications of the word group for us in our daily lives. Author Individuality.
Precisely the kind of diversity that one would expect to find between authors, separated sometimes by centuries in time, has been observed as we considered the ways in which the various authors used the Law/ Command word group. Some were concerned with secular meanings while others sought the theological implications of the word group.
Perhaps of greatest interest is the uniqueness of Mormon who, despite the fact that he edited almost everybody else’s work, has his own unique linguistic imprint which runs throughout his material. Theological Implications. As suggested at the beginning of this chapter, we as Latter-day Saints tend to place a strong emphasis on obedience to the commands of the Lord.
Generally, we have in mind ethical commands or commands which direct us to fulfill certain ordinances. In doing so, however, there is a danger that the real commandment—to come unto the Lord—may become lost in the shuffle, causing us to misunderstand the essence of our faith and substitute slavish pharisaism where there should be Christian freedom.
Below are some suggestions concerning how this may have occurred and how we may once again realize the incredible freedom that exists in Latter-day Saint theology. Much of our attention with our young people is turned toward trying to keep them safe in a terribly wicked world. We realize that teenagers do not yet have enough experience with life to see the long-range consequences of their actions.
Thus adults, in their wisdom, stress to the younger generation the ethical commands of the Lord in order to keep that generation safe until they have developed the spiritual equipment to keep themselves out of trouble. No active Latter-day Saint would or could deny the validity of this approach.
- We lay down the law that the young may enter adulthood clean and unsullied by the world, and our study of the Book of Mormon authors certainly validates this approach.
- The question to be answered, in light of the above study, is whether we as adults have ever ceased to be spiritual teenagers.
- Have we gone on to the deeper meanings of the faith? In the end, the “thou shalts” and the “thou shalt nots” are only interim ethics until we have achieved spiritual adulthood in the gospel—an adulthood which means being of one mind with Christ and the Father.
A key passage concerning what the Lord understands our goal to be in relation to his law is found in Jeremiah 31:31—34: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. For all of us the day must come when we know God’s will naturally, not because we have a list of things to do or not to do, but because the will of God is ingrained in our very being.
In doing so we become one with the Father in the same way the Son is one with the Father, no longer needing to have external rules and laws, because our knowledge of divine things is instinctive. Granted, until such time as we become perfected through the work of the Holy Ghost, we need the laws of God as a tutor and a guide.
But the day will come when we no longer need the law, for we will be perfectly one with the Father through the work of Jesus Christ. Thus, each day that we walk with Christ toward the full realization of our existence in the presence of the Father, we should be less and less dependent on external norms and mandates and more and more dependent upon Christ in whom we will finally live and move and have our full being.
The relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ should grow day by day, so that even our thoughts and desires are perfected, and all commands but the one command, “Come unto me,” will fade away and will be no longer needed. – If there are not at least five occurrences of words from the word group in an author’s text sample, no conclusions are drawn.
Similarly, if the use per thousand words of text for the entire word group does not exceed 1.00, that author will be viewed as making a limited contribution to this study, except to say that for him, the material under consideration is of limited importance. The use-per-thousand figure is determined by taking the number of words in an author’s text (e.g., twenty thousand), dividing it by one thousand to determine the number of “thousands” of words in the text (e.g., twenty), and then dividing the number of occurrences by the number of “thousands” (e.g., forty occurrences divided by twenty thousands, giving a use ratio per thousand of 2.00).
If the number of occurrences had been ten, then the ratio would have been 0.50 (ten occurrences divided by twenty thousands). A use ratio of less than 1.00 will not generally be considered of major significance in an author. However, if an author has a long text, such as Mormon, a use ratio of less than 1.00 need not be a barrier in considering the way he uses the words under consideration.
Given these criteria, the following authors will not be considered in chapter 2 because the available sample is too small: Ammon, Nephi 1’s angel, Enos, the Father, Helaman, Isaiah, the Lord in Isaiah, Captain Moroni, Nephi 2, Samuel, Zeniff, and Zenos. See the section entitled “Jesus’ Theological Key” later in this chapter.
Eleven times with a 0.55 use ratio. Twelve times with a 0.60 use ratio. Alma 7:15–16, 23; 9:8, 13; 12:30–32, 37; 13:1, 6; 36:1, 13, 30; 37:13–16, 20, 35; 38:1–2, 39.3.79 use ratio.1.66 use ratio.E.g., 1 Nephi 3:7, 15; 4:11; 16:8; 2 Nephi 5:19, 31.E.g., Ether 2:5; 4:1; 9:20; 12:22, etc.
- Alma 5:61; 12:14; 37:1–2, 16, 20, 27; 39:10, 12.
- Mosiah 27:3; Alma43:16–17; 47:3, 5,13; 52:15; 53:2; 59:7; 62:3,43; Helaman 12:8; 3 Nephi 4:23, 26; Mormon 5:1, 23; Moroni 7:30.E.g., Mosiah 1:17; 7:8; 17:1; 18:21; Helaman 4:22; 3 Nephi 4:13, etc.E.g., Alma 1:32; 10:14; 30:9; Helaman 2:10; 3 Nephi 5:5; 6:30.
See Mosiah 6:1; 17:20; Alma 1:25; 31:9; 48:25; Helaman 3:20, 37; 3 Nephi 5:22. See also 1 Nephi 2:22; 4:14; 15:11; 17:13; 2 Nephi 1:20; 4:4; Enos 1:10; Jarom 1:9; Mosiah 13:14; Alma 9:13; 50:20; Helaman 10:5. See also 2 Nephi 4:4; Jacob 2:29; Enos 1:10; Omni 1:6; Alma 9:13; 50:20.2 Nephi 26:25; 28:32; Alma 5:34; 3 Nephi 9:14, 22; Ether 3:22; 4:13–14, 18; 12:27; Moroni 7:34.